Learning to listen

The basis for the listening project comes from Rural Southern Voice for Peace, based in the Celo community in Burnsville, says Miranda Musiker, director of grants and scholarships for the Asheville City Schools Foundation.  The approach has been used to bring together people in divided communities but is adaptable to other situations. According to RSVP’s website, listening projects aim to identify community problems, issues and priorities; to include voices that might otherwise go unheard; to build understanding among people with different or conflicting views; to generate creative solutions, develop new community leaders and form new coalitions; and to create long-term capacity for community action.

The listening project approach has been adapted for use by such organizations as Concerned Citizens Against Toxic Waste in Harlan, Ky.; the Louisiana Racial Issues Project; Health for Hispanics here in North Carolina; and the European Center for Conflict Resolution.

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